Zillow’s $500 Million ShowingTime Tool Controversy: Settlement Reached with Phoenix MLS in Antitrust Case 


Zillow sued two MLS services and an MLS group for taking away Zillow showingtime tool from their platforms. 


ShowingTime Vs MLS

Zillow Group Inc. has settled its antitrust lawsuit initiated last year against the Phoenix-area Multiple Listing 

Service and two other plaintiffs for the removal of the Zillow tool from their platforms. 

The preliminary settlement, submitted on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, did not disclose terms but indicated that final paperwork for the settlement should be finalized within approximately a month. The Seattle real estate company filed the lawsuit against Multiple Listing Services in the Phoenix metro and Milwaukee area, as well as an MLS consortium. 

Zillow (Nasdaq: ZG) alleged that the Phoenix-area Arizona Regional MLS, Milwaukee- area Metro MLS, and the consortium MLS Aligned attempted to restrict real estate agents from using ShowingTime, a tool by Zillow that facilitates scheduling and management of listings. 

ShowingTime was removed by the Arizona Regional MLS in December, followed by Metro MLS in February. MLS Aligned consists of seven regional MLS’s, though none of the remaining five were named as defendants in the lawsuit. 

MLS Aligned was established in 2021 and later bought and renamed another showing-management platform, Aligned Showings. Zillow alleged that MLS Aligned attempted to influence agents toward Aligned Showings by setting it as the default option and disparaging ShowingTime. 

The lawsuit says that when their plan failed, the Phoenix and Milwaukee MLSs just took ShowingTime off their member portals entirely. 

A Zillow spokesperson declined to comment on ongoing litigation, citing the preliminary nature of the settlement. The MLSs also chose not to provide a comment. 

Back in February, Arizona Regional MLS and Metro MLS tried to get the case thrown out, arguing that Zillow initiated the lawsuit due to the company’s threatened and increased competition. 

Competition is crucial for American capitalism, but the Plaintiffs see it as a big threat and using antitrust laws to kill it,” Metro MLS and Arizona Regional MLS argued in their motion. Suggesting that Losing ShowingTime’s contracts in a market of hundreds of MLSs is enough for an antitrust case is just unserious.” 

Zillow bought ShowingTime for $500 million back in 2021. ShowingTime helps agents schedule listing photo sessions and use interactive floor plans. Then in 2022, Zillow also bought Milwaukee-based VRX Media, a real estate marketing company that gives agents fancy real estate photos, virtual tours, drone photos and videos. They never said how much they paid for it, it was all about strengthening ShowingTime. 

Zillow acquired Aryeo, a platform for real estate photographers, in August for about $35 million. They’ve now got Aryeo working under ShowingTime at Zillow. 

Zillow, founded back in 2004, offers tools for home and rental searches, mortgages and a thing called Premier Agent for its partners. The company generated $529 million in revenue in the first quarter, up 13% from last year. 

What platforms do you use when searching for a new place to call home? 

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